Chris Yaw Interviews Parker Palmer: Encouragement for Church Leaders

Taken with permission from

Times may be tough for traditional churches, but Parker Palmer, founder of theCenter for Courage and Renewal, is not only hopeful, but inspired by the faithful and steady labor of today's church leaders.

Parker, whose vocation is helping those in the helping professions, finds hope in failure and potential growth in conflict. He also sees the importance of forming deep communities of cto help those who help better fulfill their callings.

In this interview Parker gives his signature pearls of wisdom on community, health, and leadership issues.


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Parker Palmer is hopeful for the Church because it can be a place that forms gratitude, healing, and compromise. Here are my notes from the interview:

We Do Have Enough

The myth that 'we never have enough' is a worldly notion that has sadly crept into the church, says Parker, which challenges our congregations to be places that preach abundance.

When You Fail, You Grow

Parker says when we get fat and happy we stop growing - and it's in the failures that we're forced what we would never have dreamed of become had the circumstances been different. There is almost always reason to rejoice in adversity.

Acknowledge Your Struggles... to the Congregation

People are yearning to see their leaders as human as they are. Sure there are boundaries, but in what ways can leaders be more 'human' with their flocks?

About Parker Palmer

Parker J. Palmer is a writer, speaker and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He is the founder and Senior Partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal, which oversees long-term retreat programs for people in the serving professions, including teachers, administrators, physicians, clergy, non-profit leaders and philanthropists. Palmer holds degrees from the University of California at Berkeley as well as eleven honorary doctorates, two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the National Educational Press Association, and an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press. He is the author of nine books, including several best-selling and award-winning titles: [Healing the Heart of Democracy](, The Heart of Higher Education (with Arthur Zajonc), and The Courage to Teach.  A member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker), Dr. Palmer and his wife, Sharon Palmer, live in Madison, Wisconsin.

Books Parker Recommends

Christianity After Religion - Diana Butler Bass

Jayber Crow - Wendell Berry

Walking with the Wind - John Lewis